15th > April > 1999 Archive

The Register breaking news

Intel will socket it, we'll see

Chip giant Intel's strategy on socketing future versions of its processors now seems to be taking shape. But the shape is protean. We reported Intel's move to the socket model two days ago and earlier this year. Now, according to Japanese wires, Intel is attempting to use its 370-socket for the Pentium III, with one of the packages operating at 600MHz, with 100MHz front side and bus and including 128K cache. Some uninitiated into the black arts of Intel marketing may wonder why this esoteric matter of pins and slots and sockets matters. The reason is upgradeability of both end user machines. It is also much to do with future form factors of PCs. Paul Otellini, a senior VP at Intel, told The Register earlier this year that while the Pentium III will move to a socketed design, it would not be Socket 370. This conflicts with our information. Later this year, we know, Intel will introduce a pin package using Coppermine technology at 256K cache. According to the wire reports, the long awaited Willamette technology will come with 423 pins, and Foster will have 603 pins. This is all a little confusing. Celeron Slot Ones, as reported here earlier, are to disappear and very soon now, while there is no doubt, according to our sources, that Slot One will also disappear for Pentium IIIs. Meanwhile, sources close to Intel said that there will not now be an iteration of the BX chipset supporting PC-133. While the company had toyed with the idea, it cannot support the speeds. It is betting its bottom dollar on Rambus DRDRAM technology. We will have more information on this slottish subject later in the day. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

AMD to ship K7 in July

A poster on one of the myriad investor conferences claims to have heard AMD's CEO, Jerry Sanders III, outlining futures of the K7. According to the post, Sanders said a tier one OEM will ship a K7 box in July. At the same time, AMD's K62 mobile chip will appear in an IBM ThinkPad and in machines from Compaq, Toshiba and NEC. According to the report, the K7 will drag in Dell to support AMD processors, while Dresden will ship .18 micron technology in Q1 of next year using copper technology. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999

Hardware site claims Transmeta scoop

Our friends over at JCs are claiming to have privileged information on Transmeta. The information sounds valid and chimes with some of what we have already heard. According to JC, the CPU will have an embedded north bridge, use a proprietary socket design, 16Mb of "special" memory and a flash chip, allowing upgradeability. It will be fabbed by IBM Micro, as revealed here last year. Go to JCs site for the lot. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

McKinley was assassinated, wasn't he?

A US reader points out that President McKinley suffered assassination and wonders why, then, Intel code-named its son of Merced with that name. ®
The Register breaking news

Gates: Free software and Linux are doomed

Do we note some ominous undertones to Bill Gates damnation of Linux yesterday? Claiming that he saw Linux as having only a limited role in the future, Gates put forward the suggestion -- apparently as an example of why Linux wouldn't work in the long term -- that browsers had now become so sophisticated that they could no longer be developed in a "non-commercial" environment. Speaking to an audience in Houston, Texas, Gates said that the market for free software really just consists of simple programs, and that the day of the free browser knocked together by a few students is at an end. Browsers were indeed largely developed for free at first, and some of them still are. But Bill's right in that most of the market is now held by Internet Explorer and Netscape, both now developed by commercial organisations (pace Mozilla). In various pieces of testimony at the antitrust trial Microsoft argued that it had always been its intention to give away IE, but as IE is now part of Windows, pending further legal developments, yes, we suppose it has stopped being free really. Gates applies similar reasoning to Linux, and his point of view is easy to understand, even if you don't agree with it. Most users will continue to vote for Windows, he says, because it's a single product, with central testing and control. The complexity (Bill would no doubt rather use words like sophistication and integration) of this product is such that it's just not feasible for software developed by a diverse group of volunteers to match it. Of course it takes Bill to argue that Windows is a single product (we think we counted 14 existing and projected variants recently), and Microsoft's own internal documentation (Halloween) is ample evidence that the company is impressed by the speed of Linux development, testing and debugging. That very documentation admits Microsoft can't keep up with Linux development. What Gates is really saying is that he reckons the historical Microsoft strategy of building ever more complicated and intertwined software will continue to succeed. In the past this has had the effect of pricing rival software developers out of the market, and this process has been aided and abetted by Microsoft's ability to use control of the platform to change the rules -- thus undermining rival development efforts some more. But Microsoft now faces an operation that isn't damaged by Microsoft current control of the platform, whose development economics are not dependent on making as much money as Microsoft, and which is beginning to provide a serious challenge to the keystone of the whole lot -- Microsoft control of the platform. Maybe Bill should think about this, rather than carrying on believing the old stuff. ®
John Lettice, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

AMD posts huge loss

As warned, AMD showed a huge loss of $128, 367,000 on turnover of $631,593,000 for its first financial quarter 1999. Revenues dropped by 20 per cent from its last quarter, when AMD managed to turn in a net profit of $22,321,000. But compared to the same quarter last year, AMD managed to show an increase in revenues of 17 per cent, when it also posted a loss. Jerry Sanders III, CEO of AMD, said: "The best thing that can be said about the first quarter is that it's over. The significant decline in revenues reported by AMD in the first quarter was almost entirely due to previously reported AMD-K6®-2 microprocessor yield issues. "The large revenue decline in the face of high fixed costs and record spending on research and development of $160 million in the quarter precipitated the unprecedented loss." Sanders claimed that improvements in in March and in the current quarter to date will mean a sharp increase in unit production in the current quarter. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Chipzilla sockets it to us…

It’s all change, but maybe not as fast as everyone thought Turns out that sockets will eventually be the order of the day for Intel, at least at the high end (as The Register has been pointing out for some considerable time). The mysterious Foster 32-bit chip, due to appear at the same time as Merced in late summer next year, will materialise in a PGA socket boasting no fewer than 504 pins which rather stuffs any plans for upgrading from a Slot 1 Pentium III. Merced itself will have a meagre 418 pins, while the Pentium III Xeon sticks with its 330 connector Slot 2 until sometime in late 2000 when it (and the 242 connector Slot 1 Pentium III) are due to be replaced by a future IA32 processor so secret it doesn’t even have a codename yet. Interestingly, OEM sources tell us that Intel plans to stick with Slot 1 and 2 – at least in the workstation end of the market – until at least Autumn of 2000. But that’s Intel’s plan today – it could all be different next week. ® See also Intel will socket it, we'll see
Pete Sherriff, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel to roll out 840 chipset in summer

While Intel blunders around in the midrange market trying to decide whether to go for PC133 SDRAM on the creaky old BX platform or to hang on hoping Camino will show up sooner rather than later with its support for direct RAMbus memory, the workstation guys are quietly getting on with the job of bringing the 820's big brother to market sometime in late summer. The i840 will come in two flavours – the standard dual processor variant for Pentium III or PIII Xeon and the high-end, four-way i840-QP for PIII Xeon alone. Intel has two 840 motherboards in the pipeline – the low end Outrigger and the all-singing, all-dancing Brigantine, both scheduled for launch in mid Q3. Brigantine will feature up to 2GB of RAM, AGP 4X / AGP Pro, PCI 32/33 and Ultra 2 SCSI. Brigantine adds support for up to 4Gb RAM, PCI 64/66 and Ultra 3 SCSI. Both boards will be sampling in a matter of weeks. By the time the 840 appears, both the Pentium III and Pentium III Xeon processors will have been enhanced to support the 133 MHz system bus and will be the proud owners of 256K on-die L2 cache. The new chipset will support AGP4X, AGP Pro, both RDRAM and SDRAM memory, dual PCI buses (32/33 and 64/66), and offer 3.2Gb memory bandwidth. Intel is now engaged in the delicate task of persuading OEMs and ISVs to get platforms based on the 840 chipset ready for Q3'99 introduction and, perhaps more critically, to optimise applications for Streaming SIMD Extensions and dual processors. At the same time, Chipzilla is working with graphics card vendors to ensure a ready supply of AGP 4X and AGP Pro graphics cards and drivers at the i840 launch. ®
Pete Sherriff, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Apple growth twice industry average – almost

Update Apple yesterday added a sixth quarter to its run of profitable three-month periods. For the second quarter of fiscal 1999, ended 27 March, the company made $135 million on revenues of $1.53 billion. For the same period last year, Apple recorded profits of $55 million and revenues of $1.40 billion, representing year-on-year growth of 245 per cent nine per cent, respectively. Half of the quarter's revenue was made outside North America. That said, only $93 million was made selling Macs -- Apple recovered $50 million selling two million of its ARM Holdings stock, offset by an $8 million restructuring charge. And the Q2 figures were down on the previous quarter's $123 million, again before a sale of ARM shares, then of $29 million. Revenue for last quarter was $1.7 billion, though as Q1 covered the Christmas period, a drop was to be expected. Interim CEO Steve Jobs hailed the strong sales of Apple's iMac and Power Mac G3 machines, which together saw unit sales growth of 27 per cent, well up on the industry average of 14 per cent, at least according to market researcher IDC. Averages, however, hide the real winners and losers, and Apple still has some way to match the huge, 50 per cent growth experienced by the likes of Dell. Jobs also pointed to Apple's inventory management, claiming the company ended the quarter with just one days' worth of inventory, "beating Dell for the third quarter in a row". This is very good news for Apple, but perhaps little consolation for resellers still stuck with old iMacs superseded by Apple's aggressive upgrade programme. The company's gross margins averaged 26.3 per cent, up from 24.8 per cent last year. According to Apple CFO Fred Anderson, speaking after the official announcement of the company's Q2 figures, the Apple saw significant international growth, with sales increasing 41 per cent in Asia, thanks to the continued popularity of the iMac in Japan, and 26 per cent in Europe. Sales in the Americas grew only 19 per cent. During the quarter, said Anderson, Apple shipped over 827,000 machines, 48 per cent of which were the new blue'n'white Power Mac G3s, or almost 400,000 units. Around 350,000 iMacs shipped; PowerBooks accounted for the remainder. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Apple brings Beetle man on board

Apple has confirmed it has brought ex-Volkswagen US marketing chief Steve Wilhite on board as the company's head of marketing, according to the San Jose Mercury. Wilhite's move to Apple was mooted earlier this month. His claim to fame is his role as the guy who spearheaded Volkswagen's introduction of the new Beetle, heralded a design classic (even if it is only a Golf with a new shell) and winner of numerous advertising awards. Wilhite will take over day to day running of Apple's marketing efforts and report to interim CEO Steve Jobs, who has so far been handling that side of the business personally. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Shortage of screens to push up notebook prices

Falling notebook PC prices have bottomed out thanks to a shortage of LCD screens, according to several major vendors. The going rate for a mobile PC has fallen steadily over the last two-years, but looks set to plateau or even rise in the near future. Manufacturers agree the LCD shortage will impact notebook pricing, but can not yet predict how dramatic the effect of the supply of screens drying up will be. Eric Brennan, Compaq manager of new product marketing for mobiles, commented on price: "I won't say it will definitely go up, but they will not be going down," according to online news source Infoworld. This is not the first time this problem has plagued the sector, with the screen manufacturing process remaining at the crux of the problem. Suppliers are at the mercy of the LCD market. LCD makers are pushing larger screens with higher profit margins on notebook vendors. They can get away with this due to soaring demand for large flat-panel displays for desktops and the knock-on effects of the Asian crisis. But vendors are not sure they can shift 14 and 15in screens that add weight, size and price to these mobile products. "[Average selling prices] will not go down like they did last year because of the LCD supply and demand," said Tim Peters, Dell general manager of worldwide marketing for Latitude notebooks. "As a result, the value proposition as compared to desktops won't be as great." ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Careless email is like giving a child a gun

The careless use of email can be so dangerous it's like giving a child an Uzi sub machine gun in some misguided hope that it won't run amok and cause widespread carnage. This graphic analogy is being used by Content Technologies Ltd which reckons that almost two thirds of office workers have risked their personal and business credibility with email errors in the workplace. But The Register contacted a firearms expert, who scoffed at this suggestion. "Have you seen the damage an Uzi 9mm SMG can do to flesh and bone? I have and it's not a pretty sight," he said. "To say that firing off a few emails to the wrong place and watching a small child wrestle with a short barrelled Uzi as the bullets rip through internal organs showering soft tissue up against a wall is just too much. "When I was in Nam..." And so on. In the survey, Content Technologies -- which developed the Internet content security product MIMEsweeper -- found that 61 per cent of people have sent an email to the wrong person. It also found that almost three quarters of people would automatically send confidential information to a company director without first checking that the email was genuine. "Most people don't mind if they are sent the wrong email, but, if it comes from a business address, it can have serious consequences in terms of corporate credibility and integrity," said Chris Heslop, marketing manager at Content Technologies. He cited one example where an employee sent an email by mistake to a customer containing a personal insult. Not only was she sacked but her former employer also lost a valuable contract. Nearly the same as a child running amok with an Uzi, but somehow not quite. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Amazon sues Amazon

Internet bookstore Amazon.com has been hit with a writ by a Minnesota bookshop also called Amazon. The real-world store's suite, filed with the Minneapolis US District Court, claims its virtual-world rival is infringing on its trademark and confusing its customers. "The rapid growth and vast size of Amazon.com, along with its massive marketing expenditures, is overwhelming Amazon Bookstore and negating its attempts to alleviate the confusion and preserve its unique identity," said the real-word store's lawyer, Mathias Samuel. And, according to the Reuters news agency, the store is seeking an injunction to prevent Amazon.com using the word 'Amazon' and to have the virtual-world store's trademark registrations rescinded. A harsh policy, you might think. And you can't help wonder why Amazon Bookstore has waited until now. Samuel's response to Reuters was to claim that "it wasn't until recently that Amazon.com became widespread". If that's the case, he clearly has a very broad definition of the word 'recently'. "The problem here is confusion," he added. "Customers are confused." This surprises us, book-buying being generally the province of the more intelligent members of society and perhaps even some lawyers. And we can't help but wonder, cynical sods that we are, whether this case is the Internet equivalent of the teams of legal eagles sent to accidents to sign up victims for compensation suits. Samuel didn't say whether he was pursuing damages on behalf of his client, but its hard not to conclude that this is what it's all about, and that Amazon Bookstore will settle for a large cheque. Still, Amazon.com may fight it out -- yesterday, the company had yet to see the suit so we are still awaiting its response. ® UpdatedSee Amazon sues Amazon
Tony Smith, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Ex-ilion faculty MD joins US company

Julia Jones will join US Internet training company HyCurve as MD for EMEA. Jones, who recently resigned from ilion faculty, will head up HyCurve's planned expansion into Europe, followed by the Middle East and Africa. She will report to Michael Pinkman, HyCurve worldwide sales VP, when she joins the company next month. Carolyn Rose, HyCurve CEO, said of Jones: "Her leadership and expertise in the training and certification industry, and her business acumen and relationships, will establish HyCurve as the leader in Internet-focused training and certification in the EMEA market." Jones said she was delighted at the appointment: "The Internet is becoming the technology platform for businesses, and e-business in particular is ready to explode in Europe. "This is going to open new markets literally overnight, and create positions that will demand the e-skills necessary for a wide variety of Internet-based business solutions." Before ilion faculty MD, Jones worked in the training divisions of Azlan and InterQuad. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Action sees profit slip as search for buyer continues

Action Computer Supplies may be in the process of securing of a buyer, but its latest set of figures is unlikely to prove helpful in this search. The reseller warned that it had experienced a significant downturn in January and February, according to a report in today's Financial Times. This downturn led to a fall in profit by some 12 per cent for the six months ending 26 February. Pre-tax profit for the period stood at £2.72 million, compared to £3.1 million for the same time last year. In spite of troubled figures, Action still claimed it was close to securing a deal with a buyer. Action chairman Henry Lewis, said: "Nobody expected the January and February downturn. We hope this is a blip instead of a downward trend. "We expect to be consolidated at some point in time." Turnover for the six months was up 30 per cent to £140.9 million. With Lewis pointing to the increasing importance of the company’s online sales, which he said had grown by 44 per cent to £12.2 million. ®
Sean Fleming, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Kiddie porn stunt fails to hit Euro leaders

An extremist anti-porn group which claimed to have sent examples of child pornography to the Royal Family and European leaders, appears to have bungled its attempt to rid Europe of Internet smut. For while some sources, including the BBC, claimed that the Belgian-based Morkhoven Group had sent pictures depicting extreme acts of paedophilia to European heads of state and political leaders, no one actually appears to have received anything. A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace -- one of the alleged high-profile targets of the porn -- confirmed that nothing had been received at the Queen's official residence in London. And any fears that Her Majesty might stumble across the offensive material when she goes to pick up her post in the morning were allayed by Royal staff who said HM was currently residing at Windsor Castle. A spokesman for 10 Downing Street, official residence of Prime Minister Tony Blair, also confirmed that no correspondence had been received from the Morkhoven Group. "If it was only sent this week it's unlikely that we'd know anyway," said a Downing Street official in its Correspondence Office. "We're a week or so behind with the post at the moment. Do you want to try later and call back next week?" he said. It was a similar story at the European Commission where a spokeswoman also reported that, to the best of her knowledge, nothing had been received in Brussels. Since the Morkhoven Group is so elusive and doesn't appear to be traceable, it's difficult to confirm exactly what has happened or whether this whole episode is just a hoax. The irony is, if the Morkhoven Group had sent pictures of child porn, as has been maintained, it would also be guilty of trafficking porn -- the very practice it seeks to stamp out. And if it had sent them and they hadn't arrived, perhaps it should think twice about using traditional paper postal services in the future. ®
Tim Richardson, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Evesham takes PC price war below £300 mark

System builder Evesham Micros will join the PC price race this month with a sub-£300 PC. The new Zydec range, with Intel Celeron 300MHz CPU, 32MB RAM, 4.3GB hard drive and 4MB video RAM with 32x CD-ROM drive, will start at £299 including VAT. The price does not include a monitor. Evesham says the range will be aimed at second-time buyers or those wanting upgrades. The Zydec range will be sold mainly through Evesham's Web site. Available from 26 April, the line will go to £1199 including VAT for a model with 500MHz Pentium III. It will also be available with 366, 400 and 433MHz Celeron, 400MHz Pentium II, or 450MHz Pentium III chips. The Midlands-based company said it would offer free email technical support, but otherwise would keep costs to a minimum. Telephone support will cost 50p per minute, with return to base warranties to avoid the costs of sending technical staff out to customer locations. Luke Ireland, Evesham Micros director, said the move was not a response to Dixons' bargain basement deal over Easter, where the retail giant offered Patriot MII 300 computers at £399 including VAT. "We have been planning this range for some time. It is designed for customers who already have a PC or want to upgrade but don’t want to buy the whole computer package. It is also perfect for Internet use," he said. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Amazon sues Amazon 2

Update Following our report on an attempt by little-known Minneapolis Amazon Bookstore to sue very well known-indeed Internet bookshop Amazon.com, we received this interesting communication from a Register reader on the scene: "I am a Minneapolis resident and am slightly familiar with the suing bookstore in your article. One possible reason that the shop in question failed to notice Amazon.com is perhaps that it's clientele is so limited. It deals exclusively in lesbian literature. "They are probably just sick of tourists coming into the "real Amazon bookstore" and then wondering aloud why everyone else in the store is a broad-shouldered woman with a crew cut, and where they can get a copy of 1001 dirty golf jokes." As many members of The Register are, in the words of top comedic talent Eddie Izzard, "lesbians trapped in mens' bodies", we can, perhaps, sympathise with the store's clientele. But we're still not convinced this is anything more than an attempt to wangle a few thousand dollars out of a high-profile name. ®
Team Register, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

ilion in talks with prospective buyers – official

Troubled networking distributor ilion Group this afternoon acknowledged it was involved in possible buyout talks. The ilion board said it was in "very preliminary discussions with a number of parties which have not reached any conclusion and which may or may not result in an offer for ilion." The statement to the stock exchange followed last week's shock share snatch by ilion ex-CEO and chairman Wayne Channon, rival Landis boss Paul Kuiken and the Finance IT company. The move, which gave Finance IT 11.8 per cent of ilion, sparked discussions among analysts that a buyout was on the cards. On 26 March ilion Group announced a pre-tax loss of £3.2 million for the year ended 31 December. This compared to 1997's £6.1 million profit. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

IBM enters whacky domain land

We've watched IBM register a number of new domain names over the last two weeks with growing disbelief. When we saw DEATHLORDS.COM our interest was aroused, and then we noticed it had registered THEPEOPLESEYEBROW.COM, which certainly made us sit up. SMOKEYSPALACE.COM and SMOKEYSPALACE2000.COM were interesting registrations too. But the latest registration really caused us to sit up. BLUEBUDDHA.COM is an exotic name and while IBM is Big Blue, it is surely not buddhistic. Is the whole corporation smoking waccy baccy, we wonder? ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Shareholders kick AMD while it's down

For a company that is supposed to be the underdog, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), seems to be getting little respite. Yesterday evening it turned in bad financial results but the class actions just keep coming. The latest this week are from Paul Nold, David Eidman, David Wu and Hossein Mirzaie, all naming both AMD and CEO Jerry Sanders III as defendants. We're beginning to lose count, but we hope AMD's legal department isn't. ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

MS releases Win95 Y2K fix

As predicted here a little while back (see MS climb-down on 95 Y2K fix), Microsoft has issued a full Y2K patch for Windows 95. The patch, which is available here, is said by the company to fix all known Windows 95 Y2K problems, so magically the product will now run fully compliant (presuming they don't find some more) until 2035 or thereabouts. This is of course something of a reversal from the position earlier this year, when Microsoft was saying 95 would never be fully-compliant. Microsoft had until quite recently been running a Y2K policy which could easily be seen (erroneously, no doubt) as being based on the assumption that users of older products would upgrade to newer ones anyway. Alongside one climb-down, an alert reader identifies another. If you try to download the ID number patch (itself a rapid climb-down) from the Windows update site, the Microsoft 'checking your components' message has gone all timid and hesitant. Says the dialogue: "This program can determine what components are installed on your computer, and whether any new components, upgrades, or enhancements are available, specific to your computer. This check is done without sending any information to Microsoft. Would you like to check now?" The effect of the new message is perhaps somewhat undermined by the thought that, in that case, did the previous Microsoft update component checks send data to Microsoft, as a matter of course? That would be a different bunch of data from the stuff the ID number argument was all about, wouldn't it? ®
John Lettice, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Corel: Linux to thrive like Windows in next ten years

Corel will release a beta version of its consumer-oriented Linux distribution by 10 August, company CEO Michael Cowpland pledged yesterday. He also promised Linux versions of CorelDRAW, WordPerfect Office and other Corel applications would ship early next year. Speaking at Corel's annual shareholders meeting, Cowpland said Linux would help the company pull off the double win of competing effectively with Microsoft and returning Corel to full-time profitability. "In the next ten years, we think Linux can be as successful as Windows has been over the last ten years," said Cowpland. That success, he believes, will come from margin-squeezed PC vendors who will decide to install Corel Linux instead of Windows. At the $300 price-point, he said, "Windows is 25 per cent of the cost of materials", allowing the much cheaper Linux to get in instead. "Linux is almost inevitable at this point," he added. Cowpland's argument clearly assumes cut-price PC vendors don't get stung by Microsoft's licensing terms because by not offering Windows at all. And that's the killer question: will they have the courage to ignore the dominant operating system? The Mac example suggests they might. While almost all buyers of the kind of PCs Corel appears to be interested in will have heard of Windows, few will know of Linux. But if Corel can bundle a set of decent productivity apps into a version of Linux that operates exclusively in a graphical environment, it may be able to persuade buyers that Linux is a better option. Like the MacOS, Linux may not dominate the OS arena, but many people are more interested in getting work done than compatibility. The difficulty here is Linux's graphical environments. Corel will be using KDE, and while it's a good X Windows GUI, it's arguably not as sophisticated nor as easy to use as Windows and certainly not the MacOS. Indeed, it's that very lack of a mature GUI that persuades the likes of IDC that while Linux is going to make a big impact in the server arena, on the desktop side, success is some way off. That leaves Corel struggling on trying to have some successive profitable quarters while the desktop PC buyers slowly adopt Linux. And if Linux is cheap enough to win the support of margin-conscious PC vendors, it may not do much for Corel's bottom line, particularly if it's also having to field tech support calls from all those new users trying to get modems, printers and 3D accelerator cards to work with their $300 PCs. ®
Tony Smith, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Willamette “will outperform K7 by 2X”

Following hot on the heels of AMD’s tragic Q1 results, Intel is twisting the knife by showing OEMs performance predictions stretching out until late 2000 featuring a Willamette IA32 processor rated at 1100MHz competing with an AMD K7 at a paltry 666MHz. No specific figures are quoted, but graphs pitting the rival chips against each other show the Willamette 1110MHz scoring around the 50 mark in Winstone98 against the K7 666MHz at 35. On SpecInt95, Willamette reaches 43 against the AMD part’s 20. The same graph shows a 666MHz Coppermine appearing in late 1999, a clear 12 months before AMD is expected to reach the magical figure. And perhaps more worryingly for AMD, a Coppermine-based Celeron appears in early 2000 (probably at 500MHz and 100MHz FSB with Streaming SIMD) which is predicted to perform almost on a par with the K7 666 reckoned to be due 6-9 months later. Chipzilla is predicting that the K8 offers little in the way of compensation for AMD – both SpecInt95 and Winstone98 come out way below the monstrous 1100MHz Willamette. ®
Pete Sherriff, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Siemens changes name to Infineon

Siemens today confirmed it had spun off its semiconductor business as a separate company. The new entity is named Infineon, and the name change happened on the 1st of April, said a representative at Siemens AG press office. The release went out in German. The low key announcement has gone practically unnoticed by the press, but could herald a move by Siemens to sell the division. The company's Web site is here ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

StorageTek lays off 500 staff

Storage Technology will cut around 500 staff and take a hit of netween $20 million and $25 million. The US network storage vendor today warned it would lay off around half the employees in the second quarter. The moves are expected to save around $40 million a year. It expects to earn between 5 and 10 cents a share for the first quarter, down on First Call analysts’ estimates of 42 cents a share. StorageTek blamed a slow pickup of its Virtual Storage Manager system and "manufacturing constraints" on its 9840 tape drive. "A shortfall in sales of these higher-margin products led to lower-than-expected gross margins," said CEO David Weiss in a statement. "Compounding the revenue and margin weakness, operating expenses have increased significantly over last year," according to PC Week. The company has 8,700 employees. Its shares were down 8 cents this afternoon at 18 cents. ®
Linda Harrison, 15 Apr 1999
The Register breaking news

Intel will pay $3K for AMD's K7

Inside Intel, there is a deal (or a competition) where if someone gets hold of an AMD K7 and its details, the successful winner will get $3,000. But at The Register, here in London, we will pay $2,000 for the same part. We will then attempt to sell it to Intel for $2,500, thus making $500 on the part. We know samples are out there and we are serious. Give us a K7 sample, Dell and Gateway, or whoever, and we will pay you $2,000. On the nail. And as we're talking Coppermine et al, would you care to look at benchmarks for the Intel thang and Jerry Sanders the Third's K7? They are on a Stanford University site. But all the students are on holiday. We'll publish them tomorrow... ®
Mike Magee, 15 Apr 1999